Statement from Great South Chair Ian Collier

17 Apr 2022

It is with great sadness that we share the news Great South Chief Executive Graham Budd has died from a suspected heart attack.

This news has come as a huge shock to the entire Great South team and of course our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Graham’s family at this time.

Graham made a huge contribution both within Great South and to the wider Southland region in the two years he was in the role (joining Great South in February 2020).

Graham was hugely committed to his team and was actively involved in a number of key projects and initiatives across the Southland/Otago regions over many years. His extensive experience of the tourism and hospitality sectors has been invaluable. He was an outstanding leader and a wonderful person. We are absolutely devastated by this news and we are in close contact with Graham’s family at this incredibly difficult time.

Southland Mayoral Forum chair and Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said everyone’s thoughts are with Mr Budd’s family and all the staff of Great South.

“We are all shocked at the loss of Graham and it will take some time to come to terms with his death,” Mr Hicks said.

“Graham has contributed a huge amount over the relatively short time he was at Great South and he will be sadly missed.”

Great South joint stakeholders committee chair and Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said the news “is just awful and we will support Graham’s family and his work team as much as possible.”

“Graham was so passionate about doing the best by Southland and he and his team have worked so hard over the past two challenging years to support and help our businesses and people across the province.

“His death leaves a large hole for us all, both professionally and personally.”

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Graham will be held at Lake Hayes Pavilion, 1/ 710 Gibbston Highway, Queenstown, Saturday 23 April at 1:30pm.

The service will also be livestreamed to